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Tips to prioritize your mental health this year

January 28, 2024
Author: Becky Duarte

Advice from Wellness Promoter Becky Duarte

Welcome back to a new semester! The transition from the warmth of the holidays, being surrounded by close friends and family, to the routine of school, surrounded by books and assignments, can be tough. The new year opens before us, presenting a fresh chapter to write new stories. In times like these, it is important to prioritize mental wellness to allow yourself to grow, both academically and personally.

New year, new vibes

The new year always brings an air of fresh opportunities. Embrace the excitement of a clean slate and remember that you’re not alone on this journey. There are countless other students who are navigating similar paths and facing similar challenges (see my last tip). And don’t hesitate to use the services that are here on campus for you (see my next tip).

Know your resources

As you dive back into the hustle and bustle of academic life, it’s crucial to be aware of the mental health resources that are available on campus to support you. Your on-campus Thrive team is present in the library and at events around campus, equipped to assist you. Wellness Peers are there to lend an empathetic ear or provide encouragement when needed. You’ll find Wellness Promoters at events around campus, from mental health screenings to Let’s Talk Days, to help foster a comfortable space to talk openly about mental health and help you build connections. There are also counselling services that can help you, or someone you know, on a journey of self-discovery.

Make time for self-care

Taking care of yourself allows you to bring your best self to your studies, relationships and personal growth. It’s easy to burn out quickly, so set aside time for activities you enjoy, whether it’s reading, journaling, playing a musical instrument, or even getting into a new hobby. Try to avoid making these activities related to screens, such as watching TV or playing video games. Take breaks from digital devices to reduce eye strain and the constant stimulus of screens. Also pay attention to your physical well-being as well by maintaining a balanced diet, staying hydrated and incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine (like climbing VIU’s campus stairs :P).

Find a friend who gets it

Try to connect with classmates and friends who share your academic journey. Having someone who understands what you’re going through to talk to provides a unique level of support. The shared challenges and victories create a bond that goes beyond casual interactions and mere camaraderie. They become a source of mutual understanding and shared experiences. These friends not only empathize with the academic pressures and offer motivation, but also serve as a reliable sounding board for ideas and offer constructive feedback. Having a friend who understands the intricacies of your academic challenges can make that journey not only more bearable, but also more fulfilling.  

As you step into the new term, remember that your mental well-being is as important as your academic success. Embrace the challenges, stay connected, and let this term be a testament to your resilience. Let’s make this year one of self-discovery and growth!


Becky Duarte is a first-year Bachelor of Arts student majoring in Digital Media Studies. She moved to Canada in January 2023 for the experience of studying abroad and living life outside India. She enjoys travelling, watching movies and playing board games. 

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